Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Baan Thai @ Chennai

We heard that Thai restaurants in India are one of a kind. With tons of vegetarian options, you will never find anything like it here (US), we were told. Curious cats that we are, we decided to check out the fairly new Baan Thai, expecting to plunge into some Indo-Thai fair. We realized once again that great expectations don't always lead to great food.
Baan Thai is located on Khadar Nawaz Khan road in Nungambakkam. The road is very popular but the restaurant was hard to find.It is tied up with Kobe Sizzlers. Valet parking saved us the rut of finding parking on a weekday afternoon.
The restaurant is very classy. Nice interiors. Food, pricey, ofcourse. In India, Thai food is meant for occasions, isn't it? So, may be you can foot the enormous bill occasionally. The service was great. Especially after I told the waiter that I will be reviewing the food. I swear, I didn't tell that to get his attention. He was curious to know why I was more interested in taking pictures of the food than eating it. But even otherwise, he was quite attentive. Always ready to serve the dish and catering to our needs of hot sauce and plum sauce.

There were lots of veggie options. We ordered a couple of mocktails to start with - Blue Lagoon and a Virgin Mojito.

We settled on Tod Mun They - Tender fried vegetable patties with mildly spiced thai herbs. Amazing! I have never had anything like that before. Delicious!

Yod Kow Pod Pad Hed - not as complicated as the name sounds - Mushrooms and Baby corn tossed lightly in black pepper sauce. Very simple. Now, this dish did not have anything Thai-ish in it. Shouldn't I be getting the flavors of kaffir lime leaves or watercress or lemon grass or basil or the like? For a moment it felt like I was sitting in Wang's Kitchen, eating their Indo- Chinese food. Disappointing. I told the same to the waiter, when he appeared concerned about my disapproving frown.They do have chefs from Thailand in their kitchen. What could have gone wrong, I wonder.

Next came the Pha Bamee Tow Hu - Fried yellow noodles with vegetables and beancurd.

The same Wang's Kitchen-ish feel. Sigh. I would suggest ordering dishes that have "Thai" in the name. You know, like Thai green curry or Thai fried rice and try your luck. May be you will then get to taste real Thai! I would call it an Asian restaurant, rather than a Thai restaurant.It can do much better in bringing out the Thai flavors.


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